CREW Files Second FEC Complaint Against Republican Party of Minnesota
Washington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM) and its former chairman and treasurer, Anthony Sutton. The complaint alleges the RPM violated the Federal Election Campaign Act and a conciliation agreement the party signed less than five months ago with the FEC by deliberately hiding its debts from FEC investigators. Back in 2007, CREW had filed a similar complaint against the RPM, leading the FEC to impose a $170,000 fine last summer.
“The Republican Party of Minnesota’s FEC reports haven’t reflected the party’s actual financial condition for nearly a decade and make a mockery of the public’s right to know,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “There appears to be ample evidence Mr. Sutton, repeatedly lied to FEC investigators for years to achieve the party’s political goals. Party officials signed a conciliation agreement with the FEC pledging the party would clean up its act and – less than six months later – we discover absolutely nothing has changed.”
On December 30, 2011, the RPM held a news conference to announce the party had conducted an internal review revealing $2 million in debts, including $415,211 that had never been reported to the FEC. According to party officials, they had been fighting with party treasurer Anthony Sutton over the release of party financial information, but had been unable to obtain the records until Sutton resigned. As RPM’s treasurer, Sutton appears to have filed false reports with the FEC.
Federal law requires state committees like the RPM to disclose all outstanding debts and obligations. In addition, knowingly and willfully filing false reports with the FEC is a federal crime.
“When CREW filed its initial complaint back in 2007 we asked the FEC to conduct a full audit of the RPM’s finances, but the FEC declined,” said Ms. Sloan. “If the commission had done its job, we wouldn’t have to ask them to restart yet another botched investigation. Allowing such conduct to go unpunished reinforces the public’s view that politics is a dirty, rigged game. The FEC continues to fail the American public.”